Michael Skelly, President at Skelly Strategic Solutions, has more than 20 years of running communications for unions but his political strategy firm is the result of a lifetime interest in public service advocacy and politics.

Skelly will be honored with the Labor Communications Award at LaborPress’ upcoming ceremony celebrating law enforcement labor leadership.

Skelly launched his namesake firm in 2015 after a decade representing New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, where he was “baptized by fire” responding to crises in real time, building advocacy campaigns and shaping media appearances for the second largest uniformed workers union in the city. He got his start working in organized labor at Koehler & Isaacs, a law firm representing public and private sector unions where the law firm’s partner Richard Koehler acted as a mentor and taught Skelly about the adversity facing New York City’s unions and the dynamics of advocating for them.

Though Skelly built his representation on his work for COBA and other uniformed municipal unions like the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association, his roster has expanded into other sectors of the government workforce including the Subway-Surface Supervisors Association and the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees.

A recent milestone of Skelly’s involved laying the groundwork for what became the law that prevents all public employees in New York state from being penalized for taking sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19. In his role, Skelly helped publicize the plight of a correction officer who was unfairly disciplined for taking covid-related absences during the pandemic in accordance with CDC-guidelines.

He has also led campaigns that resulted in a landmark expansion of the State Supreme Court Officers staff in 2018 and a law that makes it a felony to assault a transit supervisor on behalf of the Subway-Surface Supervisors Association.

Skelly has also expanded outside of the triborough area in his work for the Florida Police Benevolent Association helping to boost law enforcement officer staffing and expose unsafe working conditions.

Skelly’s work has come with acclaim. He has been recognized multiple times in City & State Magazine’s Political PR Power 50, but he says his greatest accomplishments stem from the results of his advocacy on behalf of the workers he represents.

“My greatest recognition and an award comes in the form of placing a story that brings to light a union member’s plight when they don’t have a voice, and exposing the issue they’re facing to find some sort of resolution,” Skelly said.

He thanks his wife Mary and their two sons Joseph and Christopher.


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